Leading Riders All Set To Compete at The 2001 Oxridge Charity Horse Show

Darien, CT—June 4, 2001—Molly Ashe and Leslie Howard head an impressive list of show jumping riders entered to compete in the 72nd Ox Ridge Charity Horse, June 11 – 17 at the Ox Ridge Hunt Club, Darien, CT.

Ashe of Wellington, FL, won last week’s prestigious $50,000 Grand Prix of Devon with her mount Kroon Gravin. In March, the pair defeated a field of 30 of the nation’s best horses and riders, including all four riders from the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, to win the 29th annual $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. They also won the $75,000 Grandprix of Tampa six days earlier, which allowed Ashe to be one of 10 riders who represented the United States in the Show Jumping World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden where she finished eighth out of 45 riders.

Ashe will face stiff competition at Ox Ridge from local favorite “Leaping Leslie” Howard of Westport, CT, the defending champion of the Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show’s $35,000 Grand Prix. Howard, a member of the USET squads that won the team Gold Medal at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and the team Silver Medal at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, also represented the U.S. at the Show Jumping World Cup Final in Gothenburg, Sweden. Riding her 2000 Ox Ridge Grand Prix champion Priobert de Kalvarie, Howard tied for 6th place out of 45 of the world’s best show jumpers. 

Howard has continued her winning ways recently with a victory in the Empire State Grand Prix at the Old Salem Farm Horse Show. Howard and Nick of Diamonds posted two fault-free rounds and a jump-off time of 36.956 seconds to take the top prize in the ten-horse jump-off.

Howard, currently ranked 7th on the United States Equestrian Team computer ranking list, plans to seek her third consecutive win in the prestigious $35,000 Ox Ridge Grand Prix on Sunday, June 17. Also planning to compete is Jeffrey Welles of Newtown, CT, who posted wins at both the $50,000 Budweiser Grand Prix of Lake Placid and the Saturday $25,000 Hampton Classic Grand Prix last season. They’ll be joined by Chris Kappler of Pittstown, NJ, who finished second in this year’s $200,000 Budweiser American Invitational, just two tenths of a second behind Ashe. 

Other leading riders expected to compete at Ox Ridge are Laura Bowery of Southampton, NY, McLain Ward and Andre Dignelli of Bedford, NY, Debbie Dolan-Sweeney of Oyster Bay, NY, Mark Leone of Franklin Lakes, NJ, Peter Leone of Greenwich, CT and Gabriella Salick of Thousand Oaks, CA.

In all, more than 1500 horses and riders, including Olympic veterans and rising stars, will compete in events for all ages before thousands of spectators. 

The Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show will also highlight top amateur hunter riders who will vie for the winner’s share in the Reuters Junior/Amateur-Owner Hunter Classic. Miller’s Harness Company will honor the best equitation rider in the prestigious Ox Ridge Equitation Classic. Watson Wyatt Worldwide will sponsor the Small Junior Hunter Division, while Action Trailer Sales provides the awards in the Large Junior Hunter Division. Scudder Private Investment Counsel is sponsoring the Small Pony Hunter Division along with Best Child Rider on a horse and Equitation 15-17 flat. As a prelude to the big jumper classes, Howard Johnson of Darien will sponsor the Pony Hunter Classic, where tomorrow’s grand prix champions are learning the ropes.

Before the most experienced riders take to the ring in the $35,000 Ox Ridge Grand Prix on Sunday, June 17, the youngest riders will participate in the 6th Annual Ox Ridge Leadline Class, sponsored by Beval Ltd. Usually under age 6, these tiny riders take the stage to show off for the judges and their families in this fun and popular class. 

In addition to exciting equestrian action, the Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show includes the “Hunt for Hope” gala and auction as well as a luncheon and fashion show that support the Center For Hope in Darien. The Grand Prix Floral Jump Contest, sponsored by American Airlines® “Coach With More Class,” extends the competitive spirit to area florists and nurseries which show off their creativity as they decorate the jumps in time for the Grand Prix. The Ox Ridge Boutique Garden offers a unique shopping experience, featuring fine collectibles, garden/outdoor décor and country sundries. 

The prestige of this top rated show continues to draw new and returning sponsors including Brooks Community Newspapers, C.L. Adams Company, Reuters and American Airlines®- Coach with More Class, which has again signed on to be the Official Airline of the Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show.

For more information, please call the Ox Ridge Charity Horse Show at (203) 656-1745.